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Farmer attributes associated with farm profitability - a study of dairy farms in Great Britain

O'Leary, N. (2017) Farmer attributes associated with farm profitability - a study of dairy farms in Great Britain. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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How farmer attributes influence farm businesses performance and profitability is poorly understood. This thesis sets out to ascertain the farmer attributes that are associated with farm performance and profitability. For the first time from a farm management perspective, the management and job performance literature is reviewed comprehensively. A broad exploratory study focusing on farmer attitudes is reported along with a focused study on farmer personality attributes. Participants in both studies were dairy farmers in Great Britain. Linear models are presented in both studies. Just six and three variables were included in each model in the respective attitudes and personality studies. Models in both studies predict more than 40% of the variation in profitability. Cumulatively, more than half the profitability variation can be predicted by the GCA, Detail Conscientious competence, Leadership competence, temperament, attitudes and beliefs of farmers. These findings underline the major significance farm manager attributes are likely to have in driving farm profitability. The qualification ‘likely’ is used as causality has yet to be clearly established in agriculture (unlike in other sectors). The findings reported here relating to dairy farms are consistent with findings in other sectors. They thus appear to be broadly applicable and so likely to be of similar relevance to farms in sectors other than dairy. The effect sizes and the proportion of variation explained are large and may be surprising but are also similar to those found in other sectors. Strategic development and management of the highlighted farmer attributes is advised to facilitate potentially large improvements in farm profitability and financial viability. For farm management research, these may be pivotal findings offering several promising avenues for future research.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Tranter, R. and Bennett, R.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:75745


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